Secret Garden Glamping
[Credit: The Secret Garden Glamping]

The Secret Garden Glamping secures backing in Dragon’s Den

UK: Skelmersdale-based glamping business The Secret Garden Glamping has secured the backing of a ‘Dragon’ on the BBC’s business television programme Dragons’ Den.

Founder Derry Green, from Wigan in Lancashire, pitched his company in front of five real-life business leaders, or ‘Dragons’, in search of £100,000 for five per cent equity.

Speaking on the programme, Green described The Secret Garden Glamping as “a unique experience in woodland”, with “You’re never too old to play in the trees” as the company’s mantra.

The business, a five-star luxury glamping site in four-acre woodland, started out as a lockdown project for Green in 2020, as he sought to entertain his kids and fix up camping trips for them in his garden. By the end of the first lockdown, he had already finished his first glamping site, updated social media and gone “viral”, and once listed, the site was booked up to two years in advance within three days.

With nine bespoke glamping units [that Green himself builds] now in place and planning permission secured for a further four, Green realised that he had met a gap in the market when the company was recording 100 per cent occupancy since the day it opened and the earliest available weekend to book was over two years in advance.

The entrepreneur, who has a background working in transport, said that he wanted the investment in order to be able to open more sites and make The Secret Garden Glamping “the go-to brand for luxury glamping in the UK and abroad”.

Since launching, The Secret Garden Glamping has expanded into woodland areas and Green revealed that he had invested just over £500,000 at the time of the recording, using revenue generated from the business itself.

When asked by the ‘Dragons’ why he was charging a flat nightly rate all year round, including in the summer holidays, Green said that the business had been founded with his children in mind, and the average nightly rate would rise slightly from £225 a night in 2023 to £245 in 2024.

While all five ‘Dragons’ expressed an interest in investing in The Secret Garden Glamping, Green eventually decided to accept the backing of Deborah Meaden, who herself has several businesses in the leisure and retail sector in her portfolio, and led a management buyout of holiday park operator Weststar Holidays before exiting eight years later.

Meaden told Green: “You’ve got a completely fresh set of eyes and there is a lot of complacency around the industry. It feels like an industry that gets dragged kicking and screaming doing the next thing.”

If you are based in the UK, you can watch the Dragons’ Den episode featuring The Secret Garden Glamping on BBC iPlayer here.

Be in the know.

Subscribe to our newsletter »